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Debate 1984 – Watch It Now!

31 January 2013, 07:52

I recently stumbled upon this amazing debate from 1984. The topic was ‘Capitalism versus Socialism – Which is the Moral System?’ Held on the campus of a Canadian university almost thirty years ago, the issues it raised then are still relevant to political philosophy today. I would encourage all students of political science, or anyone with even a passing interest in South African politics to follow this link to Part 1 of the debate:

Here is what you can expect:

From Leonard Piekoff, a speaker for the Capitalists, ‘…The ethics of social service, the ethics of self-sacrifice, is what is destroying the world today. Who is supposed to sacrifice, and to whom, according to the conventional theories that we hear everywhere? Are the incompetent supposed to sacrifice to the able, the parasites to the productive? Obviously no, the able and productive have nothing to gain from such a sacrifice. It’s supposed to work in reverse, we are told. The able are to sacrifice to the incompetent, the productive to the parasites, the thinkers to the mindless, the healthy to the afflicted. In other words, the common denominator is that the successful at living are to be penalized because they are successful, in the name of rewarding the failures, who get rewarded because they are failures.’

From Gerald Caplan, Socialist academic, ‘…Not for socialism. The touchstone is people, and people always. And the ends are clear, simple and clear. One is a belief in an egalitarian society. A belief in the moral equality of all human beings and therefore a system that functions that way regardless of background or regardless of each of our accidental attributes. Secondly, it’s… a philosophy that calls passionately for social justice, for the fight forever and forever for civil rights, for groups and for civil liberties for individuals. Thirdly it’s a philosophy that calls for economic and social security – and not just a larger cake but a fair distribution of the cake. My old Polish uncle used to talk about stomach socialism, “Don’t give me all your fancy ideas,” he said, “unless people are full in their stomach, they’re not gonna be able to talk about dignity.’

Issues of universal healthcare, redressing so called ‘inequality’, and the pursuit of ‘social justice’ are soundly addressed. I believe that this series of videos can help elevate the standard of debates to be found on MyNews24. Who do you think won the debate? Which side do you agree with?

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